Okay, but even at the end of the day, you have to admit: that was couple goals.
X really benefits from the fact that it’s not only just a horror movie that is a, quote on quote, “love letter” to classic slasher technique and visual aesthetic, which has become a more prevalently phrased excuse in recent times for copying and pasting formulas to ironically access larger box-office incomes, but that it’s also a crowd-pleasing comedy to help sustain its originality. During my viewing, I couldn’t help but occasionally see this as a more entertaining and witty take on M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit, and one that uses the cheaply written or flagrantly contrived thrills of something like A Quiet Place to rather soften its audience with self-aware laughs at these known timing tropes. For these reasons alone, I recommend seeing this film in theaters with as large of an audience as you can find; the very responsive screening I went to certainly made my experience better.
Sex and violence: we can have them both, we can have just one, but barely can we maintain having none. This premise of the primary “sin-labeled” and “animalistic” desires of the human race make way into Ti West’s commentary on how institutionalized religious suppression of ancestors can cause their projection and envy that we often see on the sexual freedom of the youth. West has stated before that he’s planning on making a prequel and sequel to X, and I can only hope he expands on what he sets up here: the late 70s time period of radical Christian order in southern America is used to roughly counteract some life ethic philosophy that’s however translated with a modern liberal tongue; it works itself into a parallel between the entertainment industry of porn and horror for which we both consume addictively today more than ever, but furthermore one admitting the reality of generational “regrets” that we uncover more and more of as moral diversification reaches younger kins to impulsively combat these “mistakes”. Sure, this messaging gets a bit blurry at times — I couldn’t quite tell if this was siding with the younger characters’ beliefs or also poking at the hippie optimism of them that wants to thwart repeating our forebears or just aging in general as if they literally were embodying the incessantly spry pornographic body clichés of horror to achieve such; the ambiguity here is semi-problematic less so completely introspective to me as of now — but when the film alone acts more so as a light-hearted take on thrills and kills, it’s at least fun to watch regardless if their linked parts manage to come out perhaps too raw. Again, X prequel and sequel, do us some franchise justice by reinforcing these interesting ideas!
“X” is now playing in theaters.